Sergey Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity, leaders of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, respectively, said on December 6 that they were ready to commit themselves not to use force.
In what appears to be a coordinated move, both Bagapsh and Kokoity released separate statements on the matter, which are mainly similar to each other.
“I want to announce officially on behalf of the Republic of Abkhazia: in its relations with Georgia, Abkhazia is going to firmly adhere to the generally recognized principle of renouncing force and threat of force,” Bagapsh said.
“I, as the head of the Republic of South Ossetia, officially announce: our state will not use force against Georgia, its population, territories, armed forces,” Kokoity said.
Both of them say that they have no trust to President Saakashvili’s verbal statement made before the European Parliament unilaterally renouncing use of force and like Moscow called for a written, legally binding document.
Bagapsh said that Sokhumi was ready to accept Moscow’s proposal on unilateral declarations made separately by Tbilisi, Tskhinvali and Sokhumi.
Moscow itself refuses to make such a declaration on non-use of force, saying that it is not a party into conflict, which, it says, is only between Tbilisi and Sokhumi on the one hand and between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali on another.
The Georgian President said in his address to the OSCE summit in Astana on December 1 that he had already sent letters reflecting Georgia’s non-use of force pledge to the Secretary-General of the OSCE, UN and NATO, as well as the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the United States.
It is likely that the issue will top the agenda of upcoming talks in Geneva, scheduled for December 16.